Ohio home sales increase 23% in October

COLUMBUS, OH (Toledo News Now) - Home sales activity throughout Ohio increased 23.1 percent in October, helping the marketplace record its 16th consecutive monthly sales gain, according to the statistics provided by the state's Multiple Listing Services.

Sales of new and existing homes have posted a 13.1 percent increase during the first 10 months of 2012, compared to the same period a year ago, reaching 94,733 sales compared to 83,728 in 2011.

"It's become increasingly evident that the Ohio housing market is making significant progress in its recovery from the economic downturn, achieving increased sales activity for 16th consecutive month, and seeing a steady uptick in the average sales price," said Robert Miller, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors.

Miller noted the association began tracking sales data in 1998 and the current stretch of 16 monthly gains is the longest, uninterrupted period of sales growth the Ohio market has ever recorded.

"Across the Buckeye State, we're building a solid foundation for a sustainable, growing housing marketplace going forward," Miller said. "Ohio Realtors continue to be extremely confident about the prospects for our market. As interest rates remain at historic lows, prices have begun to trend upward, inventories are declining, sellers are increasingly realistic in their pricing expectations, and consumers understand that long term, owning a home is a tremendous investment."

Not only have sales levels during the first 10 months exceeded the pace of a year ago, the average sales price January through October throughout Ohio in 2012 is up 4.8 percent, reaching $135,435, compared to $128,954 in 2011. Total dollar volume this year is $12.8 billion, an 18.8 percent increase from last year's 10-month mark of nearly $10.8 billion.

Miller noted a recent survey of the state's real estate professionals, suggests the industry remains cautiously optimistic about the market's outlook in the coming months.

The OAR Housing Market Confidence Index, a measurement created recently of the perception Ohio Realtors have of the marketplace, offers the following highlights of the November 2012 report:

  • 78 percent of Realtors describe the current housing market in their area as moderate to strong, a significant increase from the 53 percent mark the profession posted during the month a year ago. This month's Realtor Current Market Index measurement reached 43, a 16 point improvement from the November 2011 score of 27.
  • 75 percent of the respondents have moderate to strong expectations for their market in the next six months, increasing 23 percentage points from the November 2011 level of 52 percent. This month's Realtor Future Market Index reached 43, a 16 point increase from the November 2011 Index of 27.
  • 86 percent of Realtors believe home prices over the next year will remain stable and could even post gains, 7 percentage points more than the findings in November 2011 (of 79 percent). The Realtor Price Index for Realtors' expectations for the next year reached 61, a 17 point increase than the mark recorded during the month a year ago (44).

"We've made significant progress in our confidence about the market in a relatively short period of time," Miller said. "Realtors fully understand that there will be challenges and obstacles in our economic recovery efforts in the months ahead, but are certain that the desire to achieve the American dream of home ownership remains strong throughout Ohio."

Sales in October reached 10,131, a 23.1 percent increase from the 8,230 sales posted during the same period a year ago. The month's average sales price of $133,800 is an 8 percent increase from $123,148 in October 2011. Total dollar volume in October reached $1.35 billion, a 33.7 percent increase from the $1 billion mark posted a year ago.

Data provided to OAR by Multiple Listing Services includes residential closings for new and existing single-family homes and condominiums/co-ops. The Ohio Association of Realtors, with 26,000 members, is the largest professional trade association in Ohio.

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.